Thursday, September 18, 2008

Whose is this image?

16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. (Matthew 22:16-21)
Usually when we read this scripture, we read it to mean that money may belong to the government that coins it, but our service or something else (we’re not quite sure what) belongs to God.

I believe that the key to understanding exactly what it was that should be rendered to God is in that word “image”. Somehow Jesus was trying to draw a parallel that his hearers could perfectly understand.

I made progress when I remembered an important scripture in the Old Testament that I’m absolutely sure the Jews of Jesus’s day knew extremely well. A scripture from Genesis about the Creation.
So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (Genesis 1:27)
There it is. Render to Caesar the things that are in his image, but render to God the things (meaning us) which are in His image.

And that word “render”. According to the dictionary it could mean “give help” or “submit for inspection” or “hand over” or “deliver” or “cause to become”, among other things.

(Image credit - LDS pictures,


S.Faux said...

You have such good creative ideas. I wish you would elaborate a little further, as the concept of "image" seems well worth exploring.

Thanks for provoking me to think about this.

Michaela Stephens said...

Thanks, but I can't take credit for the ideas. They come from the Spirit of God. Without the Spirit, I would have nothing enlightening to write.
I think the Spirit can teach anyone these things who is willing to pay the price with study. I'm no different from anyone else.